Books for Expression and Vocabulary Builders

Try these books to your 6- to 7-year-old to strengthen her understanding of idioms and build basic vocabulary.

By Michelle Anthony, PhD
Books for Expression and Vocabulary Builders

Children this age are learning how language is used symbolically. Nowhere is this more confusing than with idioms, expressions, and symbolism. Use the following books to help your child see the lighter side of these challenges with these fun or poignant books.

  • Parts, More Parts, and Even More Parts by Tedd Arnold
  • Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett. Use this book to emphasize the wonders of the imagination. Point out the role of the colors (literally and symbolically) to extend the story. Talk about how the characters’ feelings change across the book, and how they know? Point out how they are drawing on schema and inferences. Ask your child how and why the magic works. 
  • Bird Child is a stunning story to talk about the power of language and the power of imagination. Ask your child to share a time she felt she had been “given wings,” literally or symbolically. This book is rich in simile, metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia, and alliteration. Enjoy!
  • The World Is Your Oyster by Tamara James offers a collection of frequently heard idioms with an inspirational message.                          

Word Choice, Vocabulary, and Writing Mechanics:
Children in the early grades are working on learning basic vocabulary and understanding foundation conventions for grammar and writing. Use the following books to support these aspects of development in your child:

  • Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley is a good book to think about word choice and visualizing text. Give your child paper and markers and read the book without showing the pictures to your child. Ask him to draw what images he “sees” painted by the words and how he drew on his schema (background knowledge) to do so.
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why Commas Really Do Make a Difference by Lynne Truss Funny is a book about what can happen without punctuation. This is a great book to help children realize in a new way why the extra work to add punctuation actually makes a difference. See if you and your child can come up with some examples of your own examples of how commas change the meaning of a sentence.
  • Punctuation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver is another wonderful book to help kids “get” the importance of punctuation. Extend the learning of this book by becoming “punctuation detectives” who go through an un-punctuated paragraph and make it more comprehensible. 
  • I Was Walking Down The Road by Sarah E. Barchas and Jack Kent: Use the predictable rhyming rhythm to help your child draw on schema (background knowledge), grammar, and mechanics to get a sense of the flow of the story. See if your child can also apply inferences and make predictions based on what she knows about rhyming, even if she cannot easily decode the word!
  • Incredible Ned by Bill Maynard is a comical story about a boy who can make things (nouns!) appear above his head by saying their name. Draw on the playful rhyming text to allow your child to hear the “music” the rhymes make.
  • The Humongous Cat by Joy Cowley is a nice text to teach punctuation, fluency, and synonyms.